Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Generation Since the "Last Generation"

It's time again for me to dive into the old Armstrongist material from days long gone and pluck out some choice quotes for you. Today we will answer what a "generation" is according to Herbert Armstrong's reckoning of time, and we'll add more fuel to the fact that the much-hyped "prophetic understanding" was no understanding at all.

"Only the Church of God has the Key of David which is the understanding of where Israel is today - Rev. 3:7. God has set open the door of radio before His Church today - Rev. 3: 8. We are the only generation to have been allowed to understand the future. Most of the Bible was written for the understanding of the last generation HERE! NOW! To us only - to have a near complete understanding."
-Wilbur Ball, "Church of God News", Chicago-Midwest edition, August 1963, volume 2 Issue 8, page 3

How did they get the "Key of David"? Only Jesus Christ has the "Key of David" (ISA. 22: 22; REV. 3: 7). Herbert Armstrong and friends often claimed to have this key, but if you read the letter to the Philadelphian church in Revelation 3: 7, we see that the Jesus has the key. For all the talk about how God opens doors, one would think that God had the key, but Herbert Armstrong somehow has obtained said key.

Near complete understanding, eh? Last generation? In case you're confused as to the technical definition of a "generation", Wilbur Ball gives us that:

"A generation is considered to be 35 to 40 years."
-Wilbur Ball, "Church of God News", Chicago-Midwest edition, August 1963, volume 2 Issue 8, page 3, column 1, paragraph 3.

This definition is something I've wondered for a while. What is the working definition of "generation" in the WCG. Now I know.

Seeing as that article was written in 1963, and that this article you now read was written in 2010, a difference of 47 years, I see a discrepancy. Of course, that generation didn't begin in 1963, it was already under way. In fact, knowing what was being preached in that era of the Worldwide Church of God, the generation was to come to an end by 1982 at the latest. Remember, the work was to end in 1972 so the church could flee to Petra during the Great Tribulation in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus in the "push-button, leisure year of 1975." (For a great deal more detail about this, see the article "All Systems Are Go!")

"'We are not setting any dates,' said God's Evangelist Mr. Roderick Merideth, 'but it could be as short as 6 1/2 YEARS TO COMPLETE THIS WORK!'"
-Jim Howell, "Church of God News", Chicago district, August 1965, Vol. 4 Issue 8, p. 1, in article "Only 6 1/2 Years to Go!!!".

Take August 1965, add 6 1/2 years, and you get..... 1972!!!
..But we're not setting any dates here!! No sir. We're not setting any dates down to the half-year; not here, nor in countless other articles and publications and sermons and private conversations that don't set that exact same 1972 date.

So, did they get it right? Did they have near complete understanding? Well, I can tell you that I wasn't even conceived in August 1972, so I am personally going to go with "no" on this one. In 2007, a generation of 35 years had passed since 1972, 40 years will pass in 2012. It has been a generation since the last generation! Did they understand the future? Taking into consideration thie STARTLING and EARTH SHATTERING information, I'm only all the more motivated to go with "no" on this.

If "Most of the Bible was written for the understanding of the last generation," then it wasn't written for those people who said it was written for them, it certainly wasn't understood by those people who said they had "near complete understanding." The proof is in the undeniable fact that what they said would happen did not happen!

"During this time we are to herald the Kingdom of God because it will be set up in our time."
-Raymond Cole, "Church of God News", Chicago-Midwest edition, August 1963, volume 2 Issue 8, page 3.

Sure. ...Or not.

(ACT. 1: 7) And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority."

"We were only speculating," they say in desperate self-justification. Here is one example of many:

"So what are all those predictions Herbert Armstrong made? Rather than call them prophecies (which they were not) and Him a false prophet (which he was not), his predictions are more correctly speculations, theories based on true but insufficient and unclear evidence."
-Richard Ritenbaugh, "Was Herbert Armstrong A False Prophet?", Forerunner "Prophecy Watch", January 2000, p. 5.

Is that so?

I want to tell you that all this weather disturbance means a terrible famine is coming on the United States that is going to ruin us as a nation inside of less than 20 more years. Alright, I stuck my neck out right there. You just wait 20 more years and see whether I told you the truth. God says, if a man tells you what’s going to happen, wait and see. If it does not happen, he was not speaking the word of God; he was speaking out of his own mind. You watch and see whether these things happen. You’ll see who’s speaking to you, my friends.
-Herbert Armstrong, taken from audio recorded somewhere in mid-1950's

HWA all but comes right out and says that God gave him that timing, and bet his legitimacy on it!
He "stuck his neck out" and taunted both man and God with Deuteronomy 18: 20-22. Read those verses, they are what his quote here is referring to. How can he bet on this in 1956, but cop out and claim it doesn't apply in 1972 and beyond? Not possible!
Speculating? Not setting dates? Not prophesying? HA! Laughable.
I will close with one of my personal favorite quotes of all time:

"But who today understands what the prophets foretold? Why, only the ministers today whose word comes to pass!-those who are appointed and guided by God to preach the truth! Those whose utterances do not come to pass have not spoken the prophecies truly. We give you here the record of what we have been proclaiming for the past 2 years-a message which no other voices, to our knowledge, have been proclaiming.... But what we have been warning you about is happening!-precisely as we have stated.... This is how you can know that our work is not of men but of God!"
-Rod Meredith, Plain Truth magazine, December 1956, p. 3.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11


xHWA said...

I completely reject the idea that "HWA speculated."

We have to remember that HWA was "preaching the gospel." The gospel he preached by definition was "of the coming Kingdom of God." And HWA was supposed to be the last messenger of God before the end. When his preaching of the Gospel, which God supposedly gave by direct inspiration to him, was finished, Christ would return.

"WHEN shall the END of this world come? It shall come WHEN “this Gospel of the Kingdom” has gone around the world, as a WITNESS unto ALL NATIONS! It is ON THE MARCH, around the world! THIS Is PROPHESIED! This is the VERY WORK OF GOD! This is THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY ON EARTH TODAY!
This is the work that is chunging men’s lives by the thousands! It is PREPARING THE WAY for the KINGDOM OF GOD! It is the VERY world event prophesied for NOW!"
-Herbert Armstrong, Plain Truth magazine, June 1953, p.4, in article "PROPHECIED for NOW!"

So, how does him raising it to the level of gospel suddenly become "speculating"??? He was given a "true gospel" to preach at the end time... how can you possibly expect to hit 'undo' on your gospel??

And let's not forget the countless times HWA said, "God speaks through ME!" "True message from God" "On authority of God Almighty" "absolutely SURE!" and etc, etc.

So, I find this whole blather about "he was only speculating" to be one of the sloppiest, most pathetic, desparate excuses since asking what the definition of "is" is.

Luc said...

Revisionist history in action; it seems to be one of the most effective spin techniques employed by apologists for every imaginable sort of ideology when the facts don't fit the results.

I am a witness to the claims of absolute authority Herbert W Armstrong made for himself going back to around 1961. His brash descriptions of his own divine appointment and mission preclude any speculative messages on his part while leaving his self proclaimed authority intact. One can't have it both ways: "I have the divine appointment to deliver a message from almighty God." and oops I was wrong, but I'm only human and I made an error in scriptural interpretation." Herbert got away with using this excuse and his spin off 'messengers' know that people will buy it, however illogical it is, and are getting away with it too e.g. Ron Weinland. One is either a messenger from God or is not, there is no in between.

Byker Bob said...

Obviously, the false prophecies of HWA were what effected us all personally, and we'd like to believe that he will be held accountable. But, in the grand scheme of things, he was one of numerous bit players in this game. Many others before and after him have chosen to manipulate the flocks drawn to them in this manner.

I believe the prophecy regarding the gospel being preached around the world prior to Jesus' return. It's just that the gospel being spoken about is the real gospel, not the distorted Armstrongian one, and the real gospel is even today being preached with greater power than HWA could possibly have imagined.

As for the interpretation of the prophecy regarding the rebirth of Israel, if what we understand is correct about the sprouting, and a generation not passing, the generation being referred to would be the baby boomers. I'd say we'll have a pretty good idea as to whether our understanding of this is correct sometime within the next 20 years.

As Christians, the most important things we can be doing today would involve focussing on allowing Jesus Christ to live His life through us, in being an example and sharing our faith with others, and in experiencing the marvelous blessings which come naturally as we abide in Christ. It's wrong headed to focus totally on the apocalypse, and man-made theories as to timelines, as we were all programmed to do as Armstrongites.


Luc said...

Nice to hear from you again BB. Personally I get tired of looking back at Armstrongism. The world scene has such turmoil and evil that the "look up , your redemption is nigh" idea holds my attention more than the pit I crawled out of. I'm glad xHWA still has something to contribute to those who are still reaching over the rim of their own pit.

Anonymous said...

"It's wrong headed to focus totally on the apocalypse...."

Or to focus on it, as anything other than the magic-mushroom-inspired allegory it might actually have been....But I'm of the school of thought that the "apocalypse" being spoken of, in the bad ol' Book of Rev, is less about *literal* events, and more about an internal, psychological shift. Compared with Eastern mythological texts, "the Divine Revelation of the Apostle John" actually tracks pretty closely, in both chronology and typolgy, as well as symbology, with the "enlightenment" experiences described in other Far Eastern/Middle Eastern contemplative texts from the same period.

Moral of the story? Revelation should never have made the canonical cut, in the first place...and even after it did, it should have been more clearly labeled (at the time) for the allegory that it was, instead of being taken up as "things to come shortly" the way it was.

FWIW, I think King Jimmy must have recognized this; the Anglican Book of Common Prayer quotes one (1), that's right, count 'em, one verse from Revelation, in the entirety of their religious readings throughout the year! It is the verse about the Great White Throne Judgement, but other than that drawback, the rest of the Armageddon is just shrugged off/ignored. Good policy, no?

(I also don't know why it's the verse read during the Xmas season, either. I would guess the parallels of that verse to the passing of the Winter Solstice, and the lengthening days/return of "the light" to the world.)

"Personally I get tired of looking back at Armstrongism."

Me too. Think I've finally given up the ghost on the PT if only I could kick the rest of them as easily! ;-)

(Yeah, I know, everyone else wishes I could, too.) :-(

xHWA said...

I wish I could give this up. I resolve to every once in a while, but I keep going back. It's my own little e-crack pipe.
If I worked off a Mac, that would be an iPipe.

Anonymous said...

"It's my own little e-crack pipe."

Sonny Corleone voice: "I keep tryin' to get out, they keep pullin' me back in."